The entertainment industry may be tough, but an actor’s advantage is that acting comes in many forms. Film, television, and theater are three popular mediums in which young performers work. With the boom of the advertising world, commercial acting became a way for actors to break into the industry and make very comfortable livings. A young actor should be well rounded and able to handle any situation they are given. How should a young actor prepare for all of these challenges? Let’s discuss three popular acting mediums and how to train for them.
The theater is a space for performers to discover themselves. It is only in theater where you perform something from start to finish, unlike in film or on television where scenes are shot out of sequence. Taking classes that focus on voice, movement, and acting technique is essential. The theater is a big space—young performers must learn to command any space they are in, no matter the size of the stage or audience. For musical theater, make sure your child discovers the story behind the song with an acting coach. Musical numbers require acting to tell the story—something of which many young performers are unaware.
The most important aspect of film acting is naturalness on camera. Young actors have an advantage: charisma only a child can possess. It is essential to develop artistry in which children can let their personalities shine through without showing their technique. The camera picks up everything the theater can hide. Therefore, mastering on-camera technique is essential to good film acting. A young actor must know how to convey their personality and have their presence read on film. Knowing camera geography—your best angles, physical relation to other actors, and awareness of the space—is a must.
It is easy for the most talented young actors to freeze on camera and become lifeless. The best remedy is constant exposure and practice in front of the camera. Working in any film setting including student films is one way to gain experience on set. Acting classes to develop skill and camera classes to learn the technicality of film acting is a great start for young actors eager to appear on the big screen.
An actor’s job in a commercial is to sell a product. Sometimes casting directors will ask you to cry to a can of tomato sauce. You must be willing to act your most ridiculous self—and act it well. Many commercials have no dialogue and rely solely on improvisational skill. To adequately prepare for whatever a casting director will throw at your child, have them take an improv class whenever they can. Improvisation helps you get out of your head and focuses on finding the unusual thing in life and living it truthfully. It helps performers engage without thinking or second-guessing choices. Often children can appear coached. Improvisation helps kids learn to act instinctually while maintaining their technique and confidence. It is a great tool in acting and also in life.
Acting is acting is acting. But remember, no matter what medium in which you are performing, learning to live truthfully is what it’s all about!